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Serving up a treat for TV viewers

It would seem that the age of cooking, in assorted and various forms, is now the new entertainment for the masses as its now the back-bone (pun intended) of television although so far as I am aware, it has not been a radio cheap ‘quick fix’ slot filler in the schedules but that’s not to say somebody is not already thinking about it as possibly just hearing the clatter of knives, spoons and wowing and fluttering over a traditional Fenland Fickle Folly Hot-pot that has just been invented might be a mixing bowl too far - or is it?

Hardly a day goes by without a cooking show or how to make something that might pass as being edible to shovel into the human body as some form of nourishment as seeing some of these concoctions makes you wonder, are they supposed to be for eating or purely something that once hardened and dried out can be hung up as wall decorations or at worse, gift wrapped mystery tombola prizes.

The fact that some of the supposed ingredients that go into these ‘dishes’ might well cost the same as a meal out for four people including soup in the basket, house plonk at a decent restaurant is neither here nor there although perhaps if there, then travel will be involved in getting, well, there.

Having lived through the era of the ‘lean cuisine’ malarkey where you would go to an eatery, order whatever sounded a bit trendy to keep up with the others, then a plate arrived that consisted of what looked like a bright red felt tip mark scrawled on said plate with a dandelion leaf curled up to it for company with two whole pickled walnut halves to really get stuck into and then hearing the waiter, still with straight face, ask if you required any sauces, condiments or a quick sniff from the laughing gas bottle to help you ‘enjoy your meal’.

How many plates that were returned afterwards to the kitchen area with skid or scratch marks from the cutlery trying to get the felt tip mark off the plate in order to ‘totally enjoy the ambience of the meal’ can only be imaged as some folk like to think they can get full value for their money but on the positive side, think of all those trees saved by not being required to be whittled down into toothpicks after one of these gastronomic sessions.

So based on this idea, I present to you ‘Nosh with Nora’ a new and exciting (?) TV programme for foodie conner-sewers that is based on ingredients that can be found in the average (TV) kitchen such as, say for instance, half a tin of caviar or left over moose fritters from the charity coffee morning held to raise funds for ‘Save the Planet’s Wild Animals’ as endorsed by Dame Gloria Shufflewitt on the ‘Early Morning Filler’ telly programme.

For starters (pun again) host and head chook is Nora Loft-Lhadder, a mere lady in her prime of 102-years-old and still going strong who was, until her retirement, head cook/dinner lady at St. Cedric’s School for the Befuddled and proudly still has her very first ladle given to her when she first started work and is proudly displayed on the shelf next to the three birthday cards from Her Majesty the Queen with a space ready for the next one - card that is, not ladle.

John Ward (1989675)
John Ward (1989675)

Isabel Rhinging is her super keen standard issue ‘cheeky person’ type assistant with a gift for (scripted) cheeky and nearly naughty ad-libs, that have been written by somebody else but was told to ‘write for a gormless, smiling half-animated statue’ about the various dishes being prepared as she might find something remotely amusing to say about them on prompt - hopefully..

Note: since advance publicity about the programme was first scattered in the media, many charity shops have taken the hint and have allocated shelves or subject to planning permission are thinking of adding more shelves to accommodate the various books that this programme will spawn as like all the others, once read (if at all because they are were given as presents, bribes, and gifts etc) usually end up in these shops or Plan B: car boot sales - the ‘last chance saloon’ of cleb books and baubles.

Two titles already written are ‘Nora’s Way with Tripe’ - about the food type before you mind runs riot - with Isabel’s life story following on that covers her life until the present time and how she overcame her early fear of being rejected by society as a air-headed halfwit but fought her way back to where she is today - Rehearsal Room 3, Studio B, 2nd Floor.

Isabel is 23-years-old and has been reliably informed by her agent she will be 24 at the given time, discounting any prior leap year arrangements.

She boasts a conveyor belt-type degree in early second century Egyptian wool winding, an O-level in paper serviette folding, plus has acquired over 117 million followers on social media in less than three days.

In line with other similar programmes, they have been kitted out with their individual catch phases: Nora has been allocated ‘Oy! - mind my ladle!’ and Isabel has ‘Yummy, mummy food!’ although being a whole three words long is proving difficult to remember all at once but hopefully she will crack it before the end of the series.

It must be pointed out Isabel has wonderful encouragement from her media support team; three personal assistants, Bill, Weed and Ben, life stylist/guru Mavis, hair and nail stylist Beryl plus Feng shui advisor Marlene, while Nora makes do with Irene, her carer, who comes in twice a day plus feeds Nora’s cat, Bubbles, time allowing.

The first programme was recorded live, in the back room of ‘Fred’s Fry-Up Café’ sited close to the slip road leading from the M1 near Newport Pagnell that had the following gastronomical treats; Nora’s own home-made gooseberry and bamboo shoot risotto with dried prunes, tinned not fresh and served with chips (it was pointed out beforehand that chips would be with everything as the crockery had seen better days as the staff behind the scenes had not yet mastered the technique of how to dry up crockery properly).

Isabel demonstrated how to make/construct the perfect club sandwich; she began by explaining that it worked best with ‘French stick type bread’ due to the shape of the club being used plus she emphasized some clubs are quite hard to cut as they seem to be quite, well, like wood.

Guests or pawns in the process were asked to concoct similar dishes but with an hour to do so - shot over seven days and edited down to the required hour -provided the following dishes.

‘Shark da la Ocean’ (kippers on toast), ‘Star Warp’ (whole carrots all pointing upwards on a bed of fresh cut stinging nettles) with the outright winner, Melvyn from Cleethorpes, who achieved greatness with his ‘Out of Water Mattress’ (fish fingers on a bed of spinach) and has gone through to the grand final to held at the end of the series (hopefully).

So far the critics have been divided and Bubbles is still trying to find where her food has got to as the ‘Sea Serpent Nuggets’ entry is now looking very fishy indeed.


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